Anthony Gritten, Portsmouth Cathedral, Nov 16
Anthony Gritten’s fluent, authoritative Prelude and Fugue, BWV 552, entirely justified our gamble on the inclement weather as it sashayed its way over its groaning ground bass until reaching a middle section that was O, God Our Help in Ages Past until taking off in another direction and then ending in majestic splendour.
It’s not easy beginning with one’s best shot. I was very interested in Anthony’s programme note about his six and a half hour anniversary recital of Buxtehude, presumably in 2007, and I’d have been glad of a fragment of that. While Schumann’s 4 Skizzen für den Pedalflügel, Op.58, explored the stops – woodwind, something akin to harmonium- they were ‘sketches’ until a danceable Allegretto which aspired to something more comprehensive.
Max Reger’s Choralphantasie über ‘Wie schön leuchtet uns der Morgenstern’, which we got close enough to translating into How lovely shines the morning star to impress ourselves if nobody else, crashed in, promising all kinds of fireworks but then took the scenic route through its melodious theme until bringing this Autumn’s Portsmouth lunchtime series to a blazing finale that might still be ringing round the clerestory when it all comes together again in January.